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A Battle Royal in the Sky: The Life and Death of Wrestling's 100 Greatest Gods and Gimmicks
A Battle Royal in the Sky: The Life and Death of Wrestling's 100 Greatest Gods and Gimmicks
by Rich Tarantino
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Chattman & Tarantino - A Battle Royal in the Sky, 13 April 2013
A Battle Royal in the Sky: The Life and Death of Wrestling's 100 Greatest Gods and Gimmicks
By Jon Chattman & Rich Tarantino
Published by Pitch
Released October 1, 2012
Pages 192, paperback

Jon Chattman and Rich Tarantino are life long professional wrestling fans. They have also co-authored several books including, I Love the Red Sox/I Hate the Yankees and Sweet Stache. Jon is also a respected writer who has had work published for the Huffington Post, the New York Post, and Wizard Magazine. Jon worked with WWE Hall of Famer and legend, Jimmy 'Superfly' Snuka, to compose his autobiography.

A Battle Royal in the Sky does exactly what it says on the can, well cover. The authors take us through 100 of their personal favourite and memorable characters through-out the history of sports entertainment. Whilst they pay homage to the true greats of the industry who have unfortunately passed away for varying reasons, they have managed to keep the book a light hearted read by including some of the more, well, unusual gimmicks that have ever made their way onto our screens. Just a few of the topics included in this book are; The Missing Link, Brian Pillman, Sherri Martel, Bruiser Brody, Dino Bravo, Video Killed the Wrestling Star?, The Crooked Ref, and Please Stop That Loving Feeling. In addition to the article sized looks at the 100 Greatest Gods and Gimmicks, Jon and Rich have composed lists of varying sizes, called 'Side Slammers', such as; Five Other Stars Who Would've Fit Well in the Goonies Video, 10 With the Best Mic Skills Ever, Five Impressions We Challenge Jay Lethal to Master, and Unforgettable Gimmick Make Overs.

Any wrestling book no matter who it is written by has an instant air of authority about it when you have two bonafide legends appear in it, along with one of the more popular stars of the WWF Attitude Era. Jimmy Snuka and Al Snow both compose a foreword, whilst Terry Funk provides an Afterword. Why should you not buy this book? Well, if you're looking for an in depth, totally serious look at the careers of the featured wrestlers, then this isn't going to be the book for you. If you are just looking for a light hearted, quick and easy read that forces you to reminisce over the glorious moments and the blundered failures that combined make the world of wrestling, in this reviewers humble opinion, the greatest show on Earth.

4/5 Stars

Jimmy Wheeler


Heartbreak & Triumph: The Shawn Michaels Story (WWE)
Heartbreak & Triumph: The Shawn Michaels Story (WWE)
by Shawn Michaels
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.68

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Shawn Michaels - Heartbreak & Triumph, 13 April 2013
Heartbreak & Triumph: The Shawn Michaels Story.
By Shawn Michaels, with Aaron Feigenbaum.
Published by WWE.
Released November 22, 2005.
352 Pages, hard back.

'Mr. Hall of Fame', the 'Show Stopper', the 'Main Event', the 'Icon', 'Mr. Wrestlemania', the first WWE Grand Slam champion, one of the most charismatic, flamboyant showmen, mixed with natural athleticism, wrestling ability, and microphone skills ever, 3 time WWE heavyweight champion, 1 time world heavyweight champion in WWE, multi time match of the year award winner with Wrestling Newsletter Observer and Pro Wrestling Illustrated, one of the most controversial careers of all time, from the 'Heartbreak Kid' Shawn Michaels.

This is the story of a boyhood dream growing into a reality, only to become the catalyst for self-destruction, before redemption could be found and a legacy of greatness could be truly built. With a prologue taking you straight into Montreal, possibly the sight of the most controversial incident ever to have happened in the modern era of the wrestling industry. Shawn gives you a taste of what is to come, what he was like back in 1997 when it occurred and what he had become by time of writing Heartbreak & Triumph. Shawn shows you through his childhood moving around a lot before adjusting to where he would eventually settle. His charisma comes through in the writing as he explains the process of the claws of wrestling latching onto him, guiding him to Jose Lothario who would be Michaels' trainer and then manager at the culmination of what would be called the 'Boyhood Dream' at Wrestlemania XII. Before Shawn takes you to the World Wrestling Federation [Now WWE] though, he takes you through some other smaller territories and also the American Wrestling Association retelling stories of his antics with Marty Jannetty, often funny, involving alcohol and other wrestlers, while together as the Midnight Rockers, which would later be shortened to the Rockers in the WWF. HBK takes the reader into his own mind shedding light on decisions made and what he was thinking during the eventual split of himself and Marty. The events that would then lead to him finally reaching his goal in the beginning of 1996, and New Generation Era, before crashing and burning in early 1998, after helping kick star the Attitude Era with D-Generation X and Stone Cold, all seems to be told with an honesty, relaying what he felt took place and some of the demons in his life which would effect him personally, the 'Cliq' and backstage politics pertaining to himself. Shawn then takes us through his period away from wrestling, the meeting of his wife which would take him down the road of redemption, and recuperation, finding his Lord and Saviour. Everything appears to be laid out on the table that is important in these turbulent years of Shawn's life, giving the reader for what was at the time a first time in depth look into his career and finally clear up some of the rumours, confirming what was true and what was not. The Story of Shawn Michaels takes us right up until Wrestlemania XXI against the Olympic Gold Medallist, Kurt Angle. Shawn discusses his slow return to wrestling against best friend Triple H, going over the rest of his career, discussing the feuds he has enjoyed, generally recalling stories and other highlights of the legacy he has been able to create since finding God, after being told he would never wrestle again.

A surprisingly open book to be released by WWE, although don't expect great details of drug abuse or sexual encounters, Shawn doesn't hold anything important back whilst keeping the book within the WWE audience range. A very interesting read into one of the more unique stories of any professional wrestler. Many consider Shawn Michaels the greatest in ring performer who ever lived, including people such as 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin, Triple H, and Jim Ross. His autobiography may not be the greatest autobiography ever told, but it is one of the better ones out there. Funny, as open as restraints would allow, not afraid to make himself look bad, a must read for any Shawn Michaels fan and Heartbreak & Triumph is also a great read for anyone interested in the changes of sports entertainment over the course of the 90's, through the eyes of a major player.

4/5 Stars

By Jimmy Wheeler


Wrestling At The Chase: The Inside Story of Sam Muchnick and the Legends of Professional Wrestling
Wrestling At The Chase: The Inside Story of Sam Muchnick and the Legends of Professional Wrestling
by Larry Matysik
Edition: Paperback
Price: £16.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Larry Matysik - Wrestling at the Chase, 13 April 2013
Wrestling at the Chase: The Inside Story of Sam Muchnick and the Legends of Professional Wrestling.

By Larry Matysik.

Published by ECW Press.

Released June 6, 2005.

232 Pages, paperback.

Who better to write the story of Sam Muchnick's brain child that was known as Wrestling at the Chase, than a man who was his friend and proteg for many years, grew up watching the program, became a commentator for the promotion who would finally go on to run his own promotion; Larry Matysik. The show itself is widely considered one of the most prosperous wrestling programs from the territory based days, with consistently high ratings in the St. Louis area behind only the local news and the St. Louis Cardinals.

Larry Matysik allows the reader to see in to the world that was the very heart of the National Wrestling Alliance which Sam Muchnick was also the chairman of. This however is first and foremost a book about the St. Louis Wrestling Club and it's flagship program started in 1959 and would run for close to 30 years. Glimpses are given in to the workings of the NWA, insight behind decisions made by Sam that could only be provided by his close confident. As you would expect though, the writing focuses on the key parts that made Wrestling at the Chase a truly historically acclaimed wrestling program. Taking you behind the scenes into his own personal discussions with Muchnick, taking the reader inside Sam's mind explaining the way he booked matches, programs, storylines and why he, Larry feels he was the very best promoter in the business. Matysik goes on to look at Sam's overall philosophy of the business, the NWA world heavyweight championship, how it should be presented, and his view on what the audience needs. Not only does he provide this look through the door of the office, Matysik takes a look at the wrestlers who made an impact in the St. Louis area including 'King Kong' Brody, Dick 'The Bruiser, Dick Murdoch, and 'Wild' Bill Longson among others. Larry takes a look at how Sam was able to acquire such a varied array of talent to hold his shows, yet only ever holding a relatively small talent pool in his own area. A chapter aptly titled 'The War' covers what would be the coinciding time of Sam Muchnick retiring and Vince McMahon Jr's attempt to take over the wrestling business, Larry discusses the reasons for Muchnick's full retirement, what happened to the St. Louis Club and the similarities to how Sam had struck out on his own back in the late 50's. The book wouldn't be complete without a look at the aftermath of the closure of the St. Louis Club and the wrestling war. Larry Matysik sheds his opinion on what became of wrestling, the current state of it at time of the books release, he also briefly talks of his own employment in the World Wrestling Federation as it was then known, currently WWE.

Wrestling at the Chase is fairly easy read full of fun backstage stories, in ring antics to balance out the serious look at the demise of the territory system and an interesting look at possibly the only promoter no one has a bad word to say of. Even though Larry was a huge part of the whole operation, you forget this while he is authoring the book, besides at the beginning when he introduces what led to him working for Sam Muchnick and the aftermath, Larry Matysik only mentions himself when necessary choosing to focus on what he believes are the components which made Wrestling at the Chase the best television program ever made. For anyone that grew up watching this would be a great book to read and reminisce over what many consider a better time in the wresting business. An intriguing book to anyone interested in the history of the NWA and the very man responsible for it also for fans of the wrestlers highlighted through-out.

4/5 Stars

By Jimmy Wheeler


Drawing Heat the Hard Way: How Wrestling Really Works
Drawing Heat the Hard Way: How Wrestling Really Works
by Larry Matysik
Edition: Paperback
Price: £24.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Larry Matysik - Drawing Heat the Hard Way, 13 April 2013
Drawing Heat the Hard Way: How Wrestling Really Works.
By Larry Matysik.
Published by ECW Press.
Released June 4, 2009.
257 Pages, paperback.

Larry Matysik, a highly respected author within the circle of professional wrestling from the releases of his two previous works; Wrestling at the Chase and Bruiser Brody: The Triumph and Tragedy of Wrestling's Rebel. Growing up as a fan in the St. Louis area finding work with Sam Muchnick the legendary promoter and chairman of the National Wrestling Alliance. At the age of 16 Matysik would from that day forward be involved with wrestling in one form of another leading him to compose his third book.

Possibly the most frustrating, thought provoking, addictive wrestling book I have read in quite a while. Within the first few chapters I found myself smiling at what Larry Matysik had to say before getting angry at something I didn't agree with and finally laughing at his almost mischievously funny comments. Matysik provides a well balanced comparison between wrestling of the 60's & 70's in St. Louis with the late 80's up until time of writing for the World Wrestling Federation / WWE. Looking into the booking philosophies, what the announcers are there for, how matches are put together, the evolution of wrestling from the 60's onwards. This was the only major disappointment with Drawing Heat the Hard Way, I expected an open look at the industry as a whole including the major territories including Japan & Mexico with glimpses into the real psychology to why the angles and companies worked, not a concentrated look analysing the differences and/or similarities between St. Louis and WWE. In hindsight it makes perfect sense for the book to be written in this manner, who better to compare possibly the untouchable territory (Whilst under Muchnicks control) and today's WWE than someone who worked for both promotions and has a close friendship with Dave Meltzer, Larry Matysik. Although I did not agree with everything Larry speaks of in the book, he explains the logic behind it and leaves you understanding where he is coming from even if you don't fully agree. This is very much a book that is open to debate, by no means is all of it set in stone, there could be mass debates for hours every day over the best way to promote wrestling. Furthermore the heated discussions that could stem from comparing old to new, a subject Matysik covers very well and for the most part objectively in the book, could take up more time than wrestling has had on the air waves of television since it's conception. Yes, at times it feels like Larry is spitting acid towards Vince McMahon, but as previously commented within seconds he is neutralising with a just as intriguing alkaline argument for McMahon.

Overall Drawing Heat the Hard Way was a very enjoyable read. Through all the range of emotions it made me feel, the thoughts it provoked, the valuable insight into two of the greatest promotions ever created along with occasional references to other territories for the whole respect Larry's opinion. However, due to a few small factual errors which did for me personally make me doubt how trustworthy some of the content was, but thankfully due to the nature of the book specifics on events are not entirely necessary. Although it is clear that for Larry Matysik the old was more entertaining than the current product, this does not hinder him in being able to portray his accounts fairly in any way. I wouldn't say this is a must read and it is not in the same league as Wrestling at the Chase or Bruiser Brody, but for anyone interested at looking into how the heart of the NWA evolved into the WWE, this is an interesting read. Anyone seeking basic knowledge on the inner workings of the wrestling world would also find this book interesting. If you happen to be in a wrestling fan club with a book debate this book would be an excellent topic. Anyone looking for a psychological look into the reasoning behind professional wrestling will be disappointed. Many people will agree with the majority of the points Matysik makes, many will disagree, and many more will be like myself and will appreciate the good and bad of both new and old forms of professional wrestling, a point Matysik himself makes.

3/5 Stars

Jimmy Wheeler


Brody: The Triumph and Tragedy of Wrestling's Rebel
Brody: The Triumph and Tragedy of Wrestling's Rebel
by Larry Matysik
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Larry Matysik - Bruiser Brody, 13 April 2013
Bruiser Brody: The Triumph and Tragedy of Wrestling's Rebel.
By Larry Matysik.
Published by ECW Press.
Released August 15, 2007.
Pages 240, paperback.

An appropriate title for a much anticipated life story of wrestling's truly successful rebel, Frank Goodish also known as 'Bruiser' or 'King Kong' Brody. Written by a close friend in Larry Matysik combined with Frank's widow Barbara Goodish, the biography takes you inside Frank's life as much as you could ask for given that he had been deceased 19 years at time of publication. Not only was Larry a confidant of Brody, he was also a commentator for Wrestling At The Chase, a promoter, a protegé of Sam Muchnick and at one time an employee for the WWE, he has wrote two other books titled Wrestling at the Chase and Drawing Heat the Hard Way.

Independent in every sense of the word, something that could not be said of many wrestlers in the territory days of wrestling and of even less could be distinguished with in today's scene. Brody would travel from area to area working for different promoters, travelling all over the world to find the best money without having to fight backstage as well as in the ring for it. Starting with his youth in Michigan before playing football at possibly Texas' most well known school for wrestler's of that period, West Texas State. Matysik takes you back to how Goodish broke into the business and subsequently created his now famous brawling, wild man character. It would be this gimmick that could be turned on or off at Brody's own will that would make him one of the biggest draws across America reaching as far as the Orient. Larry provides you a look into the journey taken, the obstacles he had to tackle, and the possibilities that could have been had his whole life not come to a horrible premature end. You stop off to visit such places as the World Wide Wrestling Federation [Later WWE], World Class Championship Wrestling, American Wrestling Alliance, New Japan Pro Wrestling, World Wrestling Council, All Japan Pro Wrestling, Australia, and St. Louis among others meeting the individuals that influenced him for the better or worse through-out his career, people like, Stan Hansen, Terry Funk, Jim Ross, Giant Baba, and Vince McMahon Sr. Matysik takes you inside Goodish's head explaining his logic, philosophy, and outlook on the wrestling world, mixed with Barbara's input of his personal life once he was no longer playing 'Bruiser' Brody, makes for a unique read into the real man that was Frank Goodish. Within holds the good, the bad, and the ugly; the friendships, the consequences they felt when they dared to try to get one over on 'King Kong' Brody, and the tragic death of Frank Goodish in the showers of a wrestling locker room.

At times Larry Matysik seems to be justifying Frank's actions so the reader feels endeared to him more than normal, however he doesn't appear to sugar coat or hold back on any of the information still giving what comes across as a true reflection of Brody's persona. An interesting read, with fun stories retold that could have been long forgotten if not for the incredible impact Frank had on the few that he did allow into his inner circle. All in all a good enjoyable read that won't be put down easy by anyone who has had a taste of the 'Bruiser' Brody magic.

4/5 Stars

By Jimmy Wheeler
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 18, 2013 12:24 AM BST


The Queen of the Ring: Sex, Muscles, Diamonds, and the Making of an American Legend
The Queen of the Ring: Sex, Muscles, Diamonds, and the Making of an American Legend
by Jeff Leen
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Jeff Leen - Queen of the Ring, 13 April 2013
The Queen of the Ring: Sex, Muscles, Diamonds, and the Making of an American Legend.

By Jeff Leen (Featuring excerpts from Mildred Burke's unreleased autobiography).

Published by Grove Press New York.

Released July 13, 2010.

368 Pages, paperback.

Arguably the longest reigning champion in the history of professional wrestling. Mildred Burke however did not just hold that accomplishment to her name. Possibly one of the most influential personalities ever to grace the squared circle, she trained more women than possible to name, she wrestled even more. With her husband of many years, Billy Wolfe, Mildred would help elevate women's wrestling out of the burlesque theatre's and into arena's and respectable venue's nationwide in America.
Whilst the author of her biography Jeff Leen is the managing editor for The Washington Post, helping to the win six Pulitzer Prizes. He is also the author of other books 'Kings of Cocaine' and 'Medellin Cartel.'

The first thing you see when you open this biography are glowing reviews from representatives of notable publications such as The New York Times, Publishers Weekly, USA Today, and the St. Petersburg Times. The story of Mildred Burke itself actually starts on August 20, 1954 in Atlanta, Georgia, defending her National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) World Heavyweight Championship against long time in-ring and out-ring rival June Byers in possibly one of the most controversial match-ups of all times. Jeff Leen sets the tone of the book, but he does not focus on this moment or reveal everything that surrounds that important historical moment. Instead he moves swiftly on detailing the impact Mildred had on the world of professional wrestling. With a constant natural flow the reader will find themselves reading about Mildred's upbringing leading to the meeting the person who would have the biggest impact on her life, Billy Wolfe. Detailing how they would get together both as business partners and marital partners also, the training Billy would provide Mildred to help her become a world class calibre wrestler, including over 100 legitimate matches against men for money. Together they would garner a large stable of women with the focus always being Mildred Burke, Jeff Leen details the circumstances surrounding her becoming World Women's Champion and also discloses where Billy Wolfe was before he met Mildred, providing his history also. From this point the story continues looking at both Mildred Burke and Billy Wolfe, the story is almost a joint biography with just slightly more emphasis on Mildred than Wolfe. This however only enhances the biography as without knowing about Billy you could not fully understand Mildred for so many years they were completely entwined and even when not legally joined, they still managed to almost revolve around each other. Jeff Leen performs an unenviable task in separating the two people and giving a unique insight into the lives both of them lived, whilst keeping to the point and continually progressing in the rollercoaster ride that was the careers of both. The attention to detail as the story evolves from a tale of success to damnation due to that same success, how both parties felt and saw things going down, the final wedges driving the two apart. Whilst all of these personal demons were catching up to Billy Wolfe and Mildred Burke they would still be advancing business wise albeit for different, selfish, reasons they still worked together striving to earn yet more riches and fame. With this came the first ever recognition of women's wrestling by the NWA and even more women trained to continue on the tradition, still Mildred would remain World Women's Champion. The joining of the NWA would mark the final days for the pair though, Jeff then goes on to detail the messy business that was divorce, business separation and money splitting between the pair that had been together for around 20 years. We continue to follow both Wolfe and Burke as the story rolls on, as they now find themselves in competition with each other, almost as if the one thing driving both of them was to beat and destroy the other. Both with their own group of lady wrestlers, Leen describes the ensuing battle between the two now in a promotional war, part of which was based around the match highlighted right at the beginning of the story against June Buyers in 1954, which is covered in much detail, full of information from newspaper clippers and even live witnesses. From here we get the remaining years of true promotional war between Mildred Burke and Billy Wolfe, including the revolution of women's wrestling in Japan led by Mildred Burke and her group of women in the late 50's, followed soon after by an insurgence of female Japanese wrestlers all inspired by the great performances of Mildred Burke and her women. Mildred would retire her World Women's Championship in 1956 in her mind and a multitude of others, undefeated. The two former spouses would continue their rivalry almost right up until Billy's death in 1963. From there we focus on Mildred's new men in her life and the formation of Mildred Burke Productions which during the late 1960's - 1970's would garner much attention for it's mixed gender wrestling, followed by the addition of topless / naked mixed gender wrestling released on tape to buy for home viewing. Jeff Leen winds up by leaving the reader to ponder of all of the direct influences she has had on culture for years to come in a major way.

The Queen of the Ring is truly a written work of art, it keeps the reader interested from start to finish, there is seemingly never a dull moment in the whole biography. Jeff Leen has done a brilliant job of incorporating quotes from Mildred's unreleased autobiography, ladies from the era who are still alive, such as Mae Young, newspaper articles, letters between Billy Wolfe, Mildred Burke, Jack Pfefer, Sam Muchnick, and others. It hides no information and is not a glorified Mildred Burke fan club biography. It is brutally honest, noting Mildred's affair with her husbands son, her step-son, along with pointing out her inaccuracies and twists of truth. Jeff also offers the same of Billy Wolfe with his sexual deviancy among the female wrestlers, using his position of leverage, his alcoholism and obscene mean streak. Leen however paints a well balanced picture building a picture of a woman who was so influential in everything from female contact sports to feminist rights themselves, leaving you in with an unmistakeable warm respect for this tough, determined, ground breaking woman, who just like everybody else had her faults. This is a must buy book for anyone interested in the history of professional wrestling, in the history of women's wrestling, and of course for any Billy Wolfe or Mildred Burke.

5/5 Stars

Jimmy Wheeler


Holy Grail: The True Story of British Wrestling's Revival
Holy Grail: The True Story of British Wrestling's Revival
by Greg Lambert
Edition: Paperback
Price: £11.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Greg Lambert - Holy Grail, 13 April 2013
Holy Grail: The True Story of British Wrestling Revival
By Greg Lambert.
Published by AuthorHouse.
Released November 20, 2012.
224 Pages, paperback.

Greg Lambert has been a fan of wrestling his whole life and active within the industry for just over a decade. He has worked as a heelistic manager for arguably at one time Britain's number one promotion, Frontier Wrestling Alliance, along with being a party to a booking team for the same promotion, eventual part owner and booker. He has ran his own company X Wrestling Alliance, been a regular host on the WrestleTalk Radio show. Further to that, Greg Lambert has also been a long stay writer for Europe's most popular professional wrestling magazine Power Slam and for a local newspaper based in Morecombe.

What you have here is a rollercoaster ride of a two people's passion to reinvigorate a fledging independent UK wrestling scene. It is biographical in places of the storyteller, Greg Lambert, starting off with how he found himself involved and interested into the aforementioned industry whilst listening to Talk Sports, WrestleTalk. You then follow him through a journey starting with a young hopeful promoter, getting exposure on the WrestleTalk show itself along with meeting someone who would go on to be a favourite wrestler, long term friend, business associate and the other person this book is centered around, Alex Shane. From here you pretty much go step by step through the tumultuous promotion that was Frontier Wrestling Alliance (FWA), not that the layout of this written piece is that rigid, rather, Lambert reminisces on past events that effected his life, he delves into the histories and futures of wrestlers as they become relevant to the story. Greg captures what he and many others felt was the magic of the FWA in an enchanting manner with Holy Grail, painting a picture of not only what it took behind-the-scenes to make the shows a reality but also what transpired during the shows themselves. He truly gives clear insight to some of the colourful personalities in the United Kingdom along with overseas wrestlers that frequently travelled to further enhance the scene, the words provided by Lambert then get heightened by portions of interviews he has conducted with a plethora of talent over the years.

If like myself you don't know much about the history of British wrestling since the 1990's, you will be surprised to find a plethora of names such as Mick Foley, Bret Hart, Low Ki, AJ Styles, Christopher Daniels, Daniel Bryan, Samoa Joe, Sheamus, Drew McIntyre, Doug Williams, Wade Barrett, Jake Roberts, Takeshi Morishima, Kenta Kobashi, and Mitsuharu Misawa just to name some of the names that appear in this book. Then of course you have an unbelievable list of talent from across England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland to name just a few, Stixx, Marty Scurll, Rockstar Spud, Jack Storm, Johnny Storm, Jody Fleisch, Martin Stone, Zack Sabre Jr., El Ligero, Bubblegum, Darren Burridge, and Dave Mastiff. Compact with all these top names from both sides of the Atlantic this tale of passion flows nicely, not becoming just a boring fest of dates, politics and general disappointment. Instead we get various different views at what happened, the scene itself, and the wrestlers involved during the FWA years that continue all the way up until the eventual demise.

There is only one flaw with the True Story of British Wrestling's Revival, it is wrongly named. Do not expect an in depth look at all the different promotions that have sprouted up in the last few years or the few promotions that existed before the turn of the century. Holy Grail instead is the wonderful inside story of one of, if not the most influential wrestling promotions in the United Kingdom since World of Sport was taken off of the air. By the end of the book you will not be disappointed that it focuses mainly on the FWA, Greg Lambert, and Alex Shane. Lambert as you would expect being a journalist by trade manages to put the book together in a great way, with his 'gimmick' shining through at times but also offering a rare candidness into his own mind set and emotions that he travelled through along the path that was the FWA's attempt at British Wrestling's Revival. I would recommend this to anyone who is interested in the UK wrestling scene and also to anyone who enjoys wrestling books, this was a good interesting read.

4/5 Stars.

Jimmy Wheeler
@MadDepth


The Rock Says
The Rock Says
by The Rock
Edition: Hardcover

3.0 out of 5 stars Dwayne Johnson - The Rock Says, 13 April 2013
This review is from: The Rock Says (Hardcover)
The Rock Says...: The Most Electrifying Man in Sports-Entertainment.

By Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson with Joe Layden.

Published by HarperEntertainment.

Released January 5, 2000.

Pages 304, hard back.

No introduction is necessary for Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson, he is possibly the most recognised wrestler of all time, a successful movie star, one of the top merchandise sellers of all time inside the wrestling industry and one of the most charismatic superstars ever. Gaining world heavyweight championship gold a total of 9 times in a relatively short full time career of 8 years. The Rock is unquestionably a future inductee into the WWE Hall of Fame.

But does The Rock Says... have the same credentials as the man telling his story? As you would expect there is a lot of humour through-out the retelling of The Rock's story. The first six chapters of the book cover his early life, football career and training for his future in Sports-Entertainment complete with amusing anecdotes mirrored by the mischief he got himself caught up in as a teenager. The following nine chapters are devoted to his in ring career, recounting his metamorphosis from Rocky Maivia into The Rock, taking you to the time so you can understand why the audience were the deciding factor in Dwayne going from a sparkling clean good guy to the third person speaking, cocky villain known as the 'People's Champion'. Rock recalls backstage shenanigans as he tells his story, most notably with Mick Foley, Rocky also covers key matches and points in his career telling the matches as if he is in the match, speaking in character, in third person. The Rock Says... follows the Most Electrifying Man in Sports-Entertainment all the way up until Wrestlemania 15 against his arch nemesis 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin. There is an additional emotional chapter added before it was published dedicated to remembering the life of Owen Hart who tragically died during the period of time the book was written in.

The main flaw with this autobiography of The Rock is it was written too soon, at publication in 2000 it was at the height of his career, being only half way through his full time portion. Even though he tells the matches as if they were legitimate rather than as they actually are, he does discuss certain behind the scenes aspects, however do not expect a tell all, expose the business type read. Overall The Rock Says... is an entertaining read if you are a fan of Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson and want to know about his life before wrestling mixed with funny stories from his career up until Wrestlemania 15.

3/5 Stars

By Jimmy Wheeler


A Lion's Tale: Around the World in Spandex
A Lion's Tale: Around the World in Spandex
by Chris Jericho
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Chris Jericho - A Lion's Tale, 13 April 2013
A Lion's Tale: Around the World In Spandex.

By Chris Jericho.

Published by Grand Central Publishing.

Released October 25, 2007.

432 Pages, paperback.

A record setting 9 time WWE intercontinental champion, the first ever undisputed WWE heavyweight champion, 3 time world heavyweight champion, author of two autobiographies, lead vocalist for the heavy metal band Fozzy, radio show host, and a 22 year professional wrestling veteran who has entertained millions of fans across the globe. That is just some of Chris Jericho's many accolades, many of which he doesn't accomplish in A Lion's Tale, this is his story along the long and winding road to what he considered growing up, the promise land.

Canadian born Chris Jericho is well know as one of the most charismatic performers in recent memory, as you would imagine this transcends through his words for the entire read. Jericho naturally starts by telling the reader of a life growing up as the son of a famous National Hockey League player, Ted Irvine, and the reason he has such a passion to lead him to pursue a dream of being apart of what appears to be the glamorous scene of professional wrestling. Recounting applying for the training undertook, where he would meet Lance Storm, with members of the famous Hart wrestling family, only to find out things aren't quite what they seem. The story really begins to accelerate when Chris leaves Canada and America to go to Mexico where he would start to meet up rising talent such as Rey Mysterio Jr. and Eddie Guerrero, the humour in the events that occur really excels from this point forward also. Jericho subsequently takes us from CMLL, Mexico over the oceans to Germany, back to America to fly you all the way to Wrestling Association 'R' [formerly, Wrestling and Romance] in Japan, before finally settling in America with a little company rocking the world of professional wrestling called Extreme Championship Wrestling. Bluntly discussing his relationship with Paul Heyman with an apparent openness, Jericho would then venture to one of the two big companies in Northern America, World Championship Wrestling. The chapter on his stay in Atlanta is the longest and possibly the most interesting as it covers arguably the most exciting time in wrestling history over the period known as the Monday Night Wars. Chris holds nothing back when discussing his tenure with WCW or what he thinks of certain superstars, leaving it all on the table. There are countless stories included in all these chapters letting the reader into the life of Chris Jericho behind the scenes with his colleagues and friends. Finally finishing off after the negotiations are complete with the World Wrestling Federation in Stamford Connecticut and the clock hits zero on Monday Night Raw ready for the debut of the Ayatollah of Rock 'N' Rollah.

A Lion's Tale: Around the World in Spandex is a crescendo of a read, starting off slowly building the readers interest as you read each page, until the ultimate climax and the achievement of a life time and it ends on the ultimate cliff hanger leaving you almost gasping for the second volume. The Chris Jericho charm secretly draws you further into the story subconsciously without you even realising it, a witty but slightly long read, however it is worth persevering past the slow start to reach the action packed, entertainment rich bulk of the autobiography.

4/5 Stars

By Jimmy Wheeler


Wrestling by Frank Gotch, World's Champion
Wrestling by Frank Gotch, World's Champion
by Frank Gotch
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Frank Gotch Wrestling, 13 April 2013
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Wrestling.

By Frank Gotch, World's Champion.

Published by Paladin Books.

Released 2008 (Originally 1908).

108 Pages, paperback.

Frank Gotch, a man any professional wrestling fan should know the name of. A legendary figure in the depths of history of professional wrestling. Largely considered the greatest catch-as-catch-can wrestler of all time. Most historians maintain his matches were of legitimate nature also, even if some do speculate that there may have been some working in place. Trained by the equally legendary legitimate catch-as-catch-can competitor Martin 'Farmer' Burns, Frank Gotch would capture World Heavyweight Championship on 1 occasion, the American Heavyweight Championship on 3 occasions, and he would capture the Klondike Championship a singular time. He is also a member of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, George Tragos/Lou Thesz, and the Professional Wrestling respective Hall of Fames.

This book is largely short and sweet. It features an introduction by Harole Lerch that tells in brief the story of Frank Gotch and his rise through the ranks of catch-as-catch-can to become world's champion. After this the book is taken over by Frank Gotch who begins to break down the science as he calls it behind wrestling. Gotch discusses what traits a wrestler needs to succeed. Frank goes to speak of what he feels at that period in time were worked fights and why he thinks they are predetermined or at the very least performed in such a way it won't hurt either competitor. Following this Frank gives a few tips on what he feels is sufficient training to start on a road to become a catch-as-catch-can wrestler. Complete with a pictorial guide of how to get into and out of certain holds, giving examples of how certain transition and techniques should be used.

Overall this book is largely for a collector of wrestling memorabilia, with pictures of popular wrestlers from around that time period featured on every other page, a selection of 29 photo plates demonstrating wrestling holds with an explanation of each and pages of other books released at that time featured at the rear of the book. Someone who actually wrestles or has an interest in legitimate competitions may also find the plates and his training tips interesting or even useful.

3/5 Stars

By Jimmy Wheeler


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